Catherine Yass’ images, still and moving, were eliciting very enthusiastic responses from gallery visitors on Saturday afternoon. Watching people viewing the work, there was a sense that they were both enthralled and unnerved.
One of Yass’ tradmarks is the intense colour that radiates from her lightboxes, either as negative light that glows, such as the “Decommissioned” series, or the surreal solidity of the atmosphere in the “Sleep” series, which looks as if you could prod it.
The idea behind the gallery interaction was to give visitors an opportunity to make their own images from layers of translucent colour, which we then hung in the stairwell to collect the light from the seafront.
Yass’ films in particular caught the imagination of the people I spoke to, with the sensation they evoke of floating or falling through spaces where up and down are not fixed. A particular favourite seems to be the “Lock”, on the Three Gorges Dam of Yangtze River: quite a number of visitors commented on the menacing sense of environmental damage it expresses. The Sovereign Lighthouse film, while inducing a surprising amount of seasickness, is a fabulous sense-surround of this extraordinary local landmark.